LINCOLN COUNTY, Mo. – Prosecutors want the high-profile Pam Hupp murder trial moved back closer to the St. Louis area.
The Lincoln County Prosecutor’s Office has just announced their plans to ask a judge for the move. It comes after a defense request for a change of venue sent the trial more than 200 miles away to the Springfield, Missouri, area.
Lincoln County Prosecutor Mike Wood wrote in a news release, “I agree that a change of venue from Lincoln County – the scene of the crimes – is still appropriate. However, as my office has continued its in-depth planning to conduct what we estimate will be a month-long trial, it is more and more apparent that the physical distance between the scene of the crimes and Greene County will cause cumbersome and inefficient delivery of justice.”
Pam Hupp is currently serving a life sentence for the 2016 murder of Louis Gumpenberger. Her current charges and pending trial involve the 2011 Betsy Faria murder, which occurred just outside of Troy, Missouri.
Hupp was first exposed as a possible murder suspect in a series of investigations by FOX 2 that began more than a decade ago. Our reports called into question what Lincoln County investigators at the time were finding about the December 2011 stabbing death of Betsy Faria.
The police investigation led to a 2013 murder trial against Betsy’s husband, Russ Faria. He was convicted, but FOX 2 continued asking questions about Hupp as we obtained the first prison interview with Faria, who maintained his innocence.
No physical evidence tied Faria to the murder, and his cell phone was pinged about 30 miles away during the time of the murder. Pam Hupp had also benefited from a $150,000 life insurance policy, signed over to her just days before the murder. Hupp’s cell phone pinged her near the murder scene.
After a second trial in 2015, a judge exonerated Faria, but Lincoln County authorities still would not look into Hupp. Fox Files investigations continued to look into the investigation. That included a 30-minute doorway interview with Hupp, which to this day is Hupp’s only media interview.
Then, in 2016, police at a different department finally began looking into Hupp. It happened after Hupp shot Louis Gumpenberger, a man with disabilities. Hupp claimed Gumpenberger was a home intruder.
O’Fallon, Missouri, police determined she had lured him from his St. Charles County porch and drove him to her O’Fallon home, where she staged the scene and shot him outside her living room door. The St. Charles County Prosecutor said Hupp feared authorities were finally catching up to her, so she staged a murder to look like she was a victim in an attempt to deflect negative attention.
Hupp was convicted in St. Charles County in 2019, when a then-new Lincoln County Prosecutor and Lincoln County Sheriff began looking into her for Betsy Faria’s murder. It resulted in a murder charge from Mike Wood in 2021.
Since that time, there have been many trial delays, including the unexpected heart attack of Hupp’s primary public defender in 2022.
The magnitude of the case is such that it could take an attorney many months just to understand all of the tentacles. The complexity is another reason.
Wood says the trial should return closer to Lincoln County. He added in his news release, “More important is the emotional and financial impact the distance will have on witnesses and the loved ones of Betsy Faria. Many of the witnesses we will call upon to testify have been involved in this case for well over a decade. Additionally, Betsy Faria’s loved ones have also waited for well over a decade for true justice to be delivered in this matter. If possible, we should seek to make the burden these parties have been forced to shoulder a bit more manageable and have them avoid the time, cost, and stress of traveling to a location hundreds of miles away over multiple weeks.”
One way the move could get done is by refiling the charges against Pam Hupp, which Prosecutor Wood believes won’t delay the case, but rather give prosecutors another chance at convincing a new judge to move the case closer to St. Louis.